Monday, August 21, 2006

Pictures for upcoming Transformers movie robots revealed

OK. This one definitely falls into the "do I really want to talk about this?" category. The pictures seem to be unofficial, but confirmed by the producers of the upcoming Transformers movie as legitimate. They can be found on TFW2005, which I'm told is now requiring browsers to register with their site. If you're up for it, it's free.

I don't really want to get into a huge bitch-fest over these. I'm fully aware that the characters here are not, and should not be, the same as the ones I knew from 20 years ago. I'm perfectly cool with that. Still, I hate these designs. They look overdone to me, and more than a little "skeletal." Perhaps the powers-that-be wanted to highlight the robotic nature of these characters.

It should also be noted that these all represent, to some degree or another, works in progress. Still, I don't expect significant changes to be made at this point. What we see here is a clear indication of the basic design intention the movie producers are using. I just wish I could say that I agreed with them more.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Great Tigatron Debate

A couple of days ago, this thread appeared at TFW2005, showing a picture of what is assumed to be an exclusive toy available at BotCon next month: Tigatron. This has reignited a surprisingly large amount of debate.

For the uninitiated, here's a brief primer: Tigatron was one of the first characters introduced after the beginning of the Beast Wars cartoon about a decade ago. It is strongly implied in the cartoon that "new" characters (with one or two explicit exceptions) were actually born during the events of the series, and therefore did not exist prior to it. Since the toys at BotCon this year are meant to establish "pre-Beast Wars" versions of Beast Wars characters, a BotCon Tigatron would appear to contradict established continuity.

The "real world" reasons why Fun Publications would want to produce a Tigatron toy are obvious. Cheetor is already established as a toy in the exclusive box set, and FP has spent a considerable amount of money giving this toy a new head (as opposed to the one molded into the Clocker toy that Cheetor is based on). Since the original Tigatron is a straight repaint of the original Cheetor toy, it makes economical sense for FP to get another recolor out of their new Cheetor head by making a Tigatron exclusive, as well.

Now, I'm already on record on several of the message boards as saying that it's not a big deal to establish a "pre-Beast Wars" form for Tigatron, and an explanation could easily be written that would not violate the established continuity of the cartoon. This has not placated many fans, some of whom contend that an essential part of Tigatron's character (indeed, the essential part, to hear some tell it) is his origins on Earth, and that Tigatron therefore feels more comfortable in natural surroundings than among the technology in his friends' home base. But surely there are many people who grew up in the "big city" who today feel more comfortable in "natural" surroundings, even here on Earth, where I expect we can safely assume that we share a common planet of birth. Even more to the point, although it is well-established that Tigatron has no memory of the Transformers' home planet, this could simply be the result of amnesia (it is also established that there were problems with Tigatron's "datatracks" during his "birth"), which would of course make it natural for Tigatron to prefer whatever settings he finds familiar, which in this case would be the natural environment that is the first thing he remembers.

It is certainly the case that Pete Sinclair, one of the most respected Transformers fans behind BotCon, has assured fans that many of the writers behind the series have given their okay to the story we'll be getting, and that nothing in the BotCon toys and story will contradict the cartoon. But whether or not an explanation can be made is, perhaps, beside the point. I would certainly agree that the intention of the writers 10 years ago was that Tigatron (and most other "new" characters established during the course of the series) be considered "newborns," despite some of the logistical and moral implications of such a position (for example, is it ethical to populate an exploratory vessel with innocent lives, before they've had any opportunity to choose for themselves what kind of life they desire?). If the people behind BotCon care as much about the established Transformers myth as they claim to (and I've no doubt they do), then arguably they should have respected the apparent intention of the original stories, even if it is possible to "explain" a "pre-Beast Wars" Tigatron.

I expect that this argument will continue for quite some time. For me, I have no problem with "pre-Beast Tigatron." The toy looks cool, it makes good economic sense for FP to make it, and I look forward to adding it to my collection and seeing what explanation the writers of the convention comic will provide for the character's existence.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Final value: ATB Megatron on eBay. PLUS: The Reflectionary

Yesterday, the ATB Megatron auction ended with a final value of $1525, won by a bidder who had not won any of the previous auctions. This was the final of the expected Hartman rare TF auctions (although a few more have since appeared, so it's anybody's guess if the auctions are really done now). The grand total for all 10 auctions done over the past several months is $22,739.33.

Also, the first episode of my new podcast, The Reflectionary, is now up. Although I hope to improve my broadcasting and editing abilities in future weeks, this one should at least give an idea for what I intend to do with the concept. The RSS feed is available on the link, as well as a link to the MP3 file itself.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Well, This was Unexpected

It appears that the Hartmans have at least a couple more auctions up their sleeves, and they're not waiting a few more weeks to share them.

Auction 1
Auction 2

Both of these auctions are for prototypes of what they called "Go-Bots" in Generation Two. These are "Hot Wheels"-style cars, complete with free-rolling wheels and compatible with Hot Wheels race tracks, that turn into robots. Unlike all the auctions we've seen up to this point, these toys were never produced in packaging, even in small quantities. Had these prototypes made it to that stage of production, the colors would have been different.

In each of these auctions, two of the three molds available were eventually released as part of the "Robots in Disguise" line, but the third mold has never seen wide production, possibly because of a mold problem that makes the robot unable to hold the weapon that accompanies it.

Both auctions represent one-of-a-kind opportunities to own a piece of Transformers history. Expect the bids to go quite high. They're each at $34.33 right now.

Transformers Wiki